20 Franklin Street

Inbox [Oct. 29-Nov. 4]: News and notes from Idea Lab, Technocopia, MassDiGI, YWCA, Congregation Beth Israel, Pagano Media and Center for Living & Working

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Worcester innovation spaces earn $225K in state grants

The Worcester Idea Lab, Technocopia and Mass. Digital Games Institute were among 20 recipients of Collaborative Workspace Program grants awarded by the state.

The Baker-Polito Administration awarded $1,257,592 to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in cities and towns. The second round of these awards will build physical infrastructure to support new entrepreneurial ventures while spurring innovation and job creation.

The Worcester Idea Lab, 20 Franklin St., was awarded $104,275. The grant will enhance the Idea Lab’s space and improve member access with additional classroom space that will increase activity.

Gardens and gargoyles: Dilapidated churches grow into urban farms

Wondering what the future could hold for one of the city’s most beloved church buildings? Find out with author BJ Hill in the Sun’s serial glimpse into the fantastic (and mostly fictional) possibilities of a not-so distant tomorrow.

WORCESTER, June 9, 2019 – Within the city of Worcester there are 12 former church buildings that are facing the wrecking ball. Three of these buildings date back to the 1880s. They are cherished, sacred spaces where generations of parishioners married, baptized children, and said their goodbyes to loved ones. But in the last few decades, congregations of every faith have thinned out. While a giant extravagant property was once a symbol of reverence and success for a parish, now it’s become maintenance headaches for cash-strapped finance committees.

Some congregations sought to let go of the buildings, but developers know it’s daunting to repurpose thick cement walls, redesign a cavernous interior, and maintain the cultural and historical legacy.

Some church buildings were sold to the highest bidder, anyway, to await uncertain futures. With uninterested new owners and a minimum of maintenance, the once-mighty cornerstones of communities now decay and molder until they’re no longer safe to keep standing.

But a local company called Altar2Table is on a preservation campaign to purchase the properties and fix them up for what once would have been considered a most unlikely use: urban farms.

Can’t get enough? Find more What if … Worcester here

Altar2Table’s first purchase was Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Mulberry Street, which was officially closed by the Diocese of Worcester in 2016. After a year of renovations, the farm commenced operations in January 2019 and yielded its first harvest in April.

Worcester Weekly: Holy Cross basketball + ‘Anything Goes’ on Friday the 13th

Road trip!

Sunday, Jan. 8 — Norton Luge Challenge, 10 a.m., Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, 499 Mountain Road, Princeton  First of two suggested jaunts away from the Woo this week. It has nothing to do with the condition of the roads, we swear! But, y’know, besides mountain skiing minutes away, Wachusett generally has itself a formidable list of events for visitors of all shapes and sizes. Take this luge deal here: U.S. Olympic lugers will lead a demonstration of basic skills and technique. Like stopping, that’s a big one.

White House photo

Local makerspace Technocopia accepts White House invite

Shortly after celebrating the grand opening of its new downtown space in the Printers Building in early August, local makerspace Technocopia received an invitation to the Obama administration’s Makerspace Organizers Meeting at the White House. The Sun sat down with Technocopia executive director Nick Bold to find out what the government wants next for the Maker Movement.

White House photo

Local makerspace Technocopia accepts White House invite

Status was conferred by email.

Nick Bold, executive director at Technocopia, received the email about four weeks ago. It was an invitation. To the White House.

It took Bold some time to be convinced the invitation was legitimate. A video of the event shows Bold was not alone in questioning the veracity of the initial outreach.

This is the beginning of a story that culminated in Bold, wearing a suit purchased for the occasion, representing Technocopia at last Wednesday’s Makerspace Organizers Meeting at the White House.

The Maker Movement — once thought to be a loose collection of counterculture engineers, designers and tinkerers — is going mainstream.

Watch: Technocopia at the White House

Worcester Sun, Aug. 31: In this issue

Which downtown startup was rubbing elbows with the Obama Administration last week? Only one way to find out. … Speaking of downtown, we have an editorial that cuts to the core. Hitch has the answers. And a couple of recent top clicks hit our Free to Read section. (There’s more, too!) It’s your Wednesday, Aug. 31, Worcester Sun.

Worcester Sun, Aug. 3: In this issue

Charlie Baker puts Massachusetts at the forefront of pay equity. MBTA deals with daunting deficit, solar power plans. Hitch on the drought and odd days in Worcester. Thoughts on ALS, UMass Medical School and the Ice Bucket Challenge. A full Inbox and two new must-read Free to Reads. This is your Wednesday, Aug. 3, Worcester Sun.